They are supposed to work only on cold cases, but end up right in the middle of a hot investigation. The end will leave you wanting so much more! I can't wait until the fourth book. Since I read the first two books, it made a lot of sense to me, but if you haven't read them yet, you will still probably get most if not all of the storyline. Synonyms for read till the end in English including definitions, and related words. Like a great dinner party or once-in-a-lifetime vacation, all good things must come to an end. Hopefully, a really excellent, memorable ending! This is also true of that book you’re writing. You have a fantastic first chapter, a perfectly paced middle, and now it’s time to wrap up your story with an unforgettable ending. The Fear of God is Utmost … 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the anthologies of the masters are like firmly embedded nails driven by a single Shepherd. 12 And by these, my son, be further warned: There is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments ... If a reader is reading the back matter, and swiping backward, which I do myself, I don’t want them to accidentally come across the last page in the book and read it. Too many times, when I’m reading back matter in an ebook, I don’t know where the end of the story is, or if it could be the end of an excerpt from another book. Read Part 1 and Part 2. I n a few weeks, I’ll be heading to Arizona with my husband and our preschooler. We’ll be on vacation for 13 days, and I will not bring my laptop. 30. My mom calls to tell me I’m her favorite. 31. Time stops—literally stops moving forward—until everyone has read my book, and loved it, and told me so, and all my suffering is erased forever and ever amen. Modest dreams, no? Image: Envy Plucking the Wings of Fame, Wikimedia In part one of this series I introduced the concepts around lexical analysis and parsing. We took a look at the basics behind what makes up an INI file, and started setting up structures and constants that will help us perform lexical analysis, or lexing, on an input text, which is an INI file in our case.In part two we zoomed in and worked on the part of the process of lexical analysis. The problem with UNTIL THE END is also its greatest asset: it really should've just been one book. UNTIL THE END, also known as the omnibus (three-book-in-one set) of the Final Friends series, is a nearly-900-page whopping tome that barely fit inside the UPS box in which it was shipped to me. Just as YOU‘s second season enters the world, Caroline Kepnes, the author behind the You series upon which all of this is based, finishes up her third book (and already has a deal for the fourth ...
2020.09.17 23:36 MicahBanana3939 Small camera for bathroom
And, just as quickly as Stanley had tuned in to what was going on, he tuned out. What an event that was. It wasn’t everyday that an anchor was booted for acting horribly. Sometimes, Stanley wondered why he still worked here, but, as he told himself, he wanted to follow his dream, no matter the costs. Of course, that dream had consequences, but if there was an achievable end goal, then he could strive for it. Besides, if it was his childhood dream-
“Jordan, did you drop this?”
Stanley’s higher-up, Mr. Carlton, snapped him out of his thoughts, and brought his attention to the broken mess that was his tablet and stylus, on the laser-cut wood floor. Mr Carlton was just over 30. He was short, just balding, and had a crooked nose. He had risen up his ranks, and was just recently added to Station 17.
“Jordan, I came to talk to you about your next assignment, but could you please pick that up? You seemed to have stood there for a moment. I know we all did, here in the studio, but there’s still work to do. Could you please dispose of that and meet me in the boardroom? Thanks.”
Mr. Carlton picked his pace up and walked all the way down to the very back of the main room, and disappeared behind a moving black door. He was busy-like, but was very nice to Stanley, Daniella, and the various crew on-set. Stanley had no fear of the man, and his presence of constantly being rushed, but he thought that he needed a touch-up in the visual presentation category. To Mr. Carlton, though, everyone was to be treated the same, just like everything else here.
Stanley carefully picked up the glass tablet, being careful not to cut his hands on its broken, thin edges, along with the green stylus, and dropped them in a partially open wastebasket, all of which quickly disappeared into a soupy black mist, and left no trace. Such were the wonders of lab-generated black holes, approved for safe use in 2035. They had a safety latch if they needed to be shut off. Most of the time, most people kept their hands away from the thing, but these were not sold to families with children, due to the risk of babies losing entire limbs, that dissipated into the black holes.
After taking one last quick glance at how anchor Daniella was handling the news, Stanley walked away, past Tech, past the elevator to the storage room, down a short hallway that extended from the main chamber, and approached a black steel door, with an invisible facial sensor built in. He stood facing forward for a second, and, almost immediately, the door rose open with a speedy woosh, blowing Stanley’s hair every which-way. Quickly, he patted his head down and walked inside to meet Mr. Carlton.
The boardroom had a digital touchscreen spanning floor-to-ceiling, three hundred and sixty degrees around, covered in sections of various camera feeds, many digital notes, and images. In the middle of the room sat several high-rise chairs that could be moved around the room with a remote. Each chair had plastic armrests with cup holders, and in each of those sat small tablets with keypads for typing on the massive screen. In one chair, close to the back right side of the wall, sat Mr. Carlton, focused on a particular portion of the screen, moving tabs around with his hands. Stanley walked across the mostly empty room, the door closing down just as quickly as it had risen, before approaching his boss.
“Yes, Stanley, glad you came. For your next assignment, we’re going to have you cover... wait for it...” The man paused for effect. “...the development of the new Amazon tech showcase in Tucson, Arizona!”
Stanley’s face lit up with excitement. This was his time to get in and actually go somewhere to cover a big story like this. ‘The Amazon’ was in the works for five years, and it was supposed to be a massive display of the next big technological breakthroughs. Supposedly, it would be part showcase, and part mall, something that OMLLet was attempting to bring back. The plot would be 200 acres, and cost trillions, supposedly. Construction was starting, though, and Stanley would hopefully be traveling to cover the news.
Mr. Carlton could tell the look on Stanley’s face. “Now, look, I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not it, exactly.”
Stanley’s smile settled a little bit.
“We’ll be connecting to the Amazon team through video call, like we normally would, but still, think about the idea of getting the scoop on this! I’m also putting you as second-in-command for this story, so you’ve got a good role in this. Now, look, it’s not the same as flying to Tucson, but, still, this is what you wanted, right?” The man tried to put on a faint smile, but to Stanley, it failed miserably. He didn’t know what to say, simply standing still. in front of Mr. Carlton.
“I-I, thank you, boss, I’m actually pretty hyped to do this, this being the whole ‘unreleased tech reveal,’ I just… wish that we could be sent to Tucson to do the press event. Well...” Stanley quickly tried to come up with an excuse to cover his feelings. “...You know, the summer is a lot worse there than it is here, so, I think it’ll be great to stay here and do this story.”
“Good, that’s what I’m talking about!” Mr. Carlton’s smile grew even wider, as he clapped Stanley on the shoulder. A moment passed, and then Mr. Carlton’s watch beeped quietly. He took a quick glance, squinting, and resumed his smile. “Oh... now, I’ll let you go home early today, just because I’d figure I’d let you get some sleep to catch up on, you did seem kind of exhausted from this week, and your last story, where that man from downtown-”
“Yeah, I know, he robbed the store and got drunk, but he wasn’t-”
“Oh, alright, then. Why don’t you go home, and we’ll discuss this over the phone tomorrow. Take care, now.”
Stanley tried his best to keep solid composure. “Okay, then, boss. I’ll… see you when you guys need me, then.”
“Right. Take care!”
As Mr. Carlton went back to his screen, Stanley walked back over to the door, keeping a hand on his head this time, as the black door flung ajar once more. Instead of continuing back the way he came, Stanley reached the elevator, in its steel glossiness, waved to motion to the elevator sensor that he desired the first floor, and stepped back for the doors to open. As Stanley stood there, and the elevator doors just began to break apart, the guys from Tech waved him goodbye. Stanley managed a weak wave, and stepped through the doors, which instantaneously shut behind him.
The ride down to the parking lot floor, was, in reality, 2 seconds, but to Stanley, it felt like an eternity. So did the 20 minute walk from the studio to Stanley’s small apartment, all in the dry air that was New Mexico. As Stanley walked down the street, he thought of how he always wanted to travel to places to do all these grand stories for the news, and meet new people. It was difficult to stick with petty, local stories that didn’t require Stanley to leave the studio. Now, he had something substantial, but it was probably going to be another call in the recording booth, with a backdrop of The Amazon construction site playing. Stanley honestly couldn’t blame the whole situation on Mr. Carlton, because he couldn’t make those decisions.
The city of Albuquerque seemed the same from the various pictures Stanley had seen in his youth, just with new-tech buildings in the place of ones that looked nearly identical. Manually-operated cars replaced with electric, self-driving ones, light poles replaced with drones that could intelligently dim, or change color if you paid with your phone, restaurants replaced with fully automated anime lounges that served all kinds of food and drinks, streets paved with artificial carbon, you name it. Of course, Stanley never grew up in his parents’, or grandparents' generation, but he wondered what they would make of this situation. Would they appreciate what progress the country had made, if only they knew of the downfalls?
Before he knew it, Stanley had reached his apartment complex. He looked up. The building was 50 stories tall, and housed many of the people working in government occupations in the city and surrounding areas. Of course, it was paid with tax money, just like practically everything else in the country, and it was actually in good shape. After the country waged a second civil war, peace seemed to be brought back to the government and politics. Taxes were used primarily, but the government paid back large sums to businesses, and to the people. Everything seemed to be working well, besides their guts to move criminals to California, where the nation’s main prison was.
Stanley opened the 2 front doors to the complex, which led him straight into a large room, branching off into 4 more normal-sized elevators. The room was completely open, revealing a Plexiglass sunroof, 50 stories above. The elevators were covered in a false gold, to give the space an elegant feel. Stanley took his room fob out of his pocket, for Floor 43, held it up to a panel on the main wall, and an LED ring lit up around the far left elevator, indicating that the elevator was unlocked. With a sigh, Stanley moved onto it, his left arm already up to accommodate for a metal handle that popped out. If anyone were to try to leave the elevator while it was in motion, an invisible wall would activate, preventing any... physical harm.
With a jolt, the lift quickly shot up, clearing 20 stories in 3 seconds, Stanley holding firmly to the handle. After a hot moment, the elevator jut to a halt, and a door opened up, revealing Stanley’s floor. The hallway stretched out for a couple hundred feet, with metal doors every so often. Stanley let go of his handle, and stepped off the lift and onto the carpeted floor. He kept pace, clearly tired, until he reached his door, #4374. Using his same fob, Stanley held it up to the handle, until the door swung open automatically.
Exhausted from a disappointing day at work, Stanley trudged into the small apartment, and collapsed on his false leather couch. The living room had a TV, gaming console, lights, and paper books. Adjacent was a kitchen with food made ready, with the right ingredients, and a door which led to a bathroom and small bedroom. Technically, Stanley’s room was the smallest after “Square Studio,” but it would have to make do, and besides, Stanley didn’t own much anyway. Working as a news investigator didn’t pay much yet because he was in his first year, and because the government didn’t need people, anyway. If present Stanley had said that he would have moved cross-country to pursue his life-long dream to 12-year-old Stanley, then past-Stanley would have stared at him. But, thankfully, the movement by OMLLet allowed him to live his dream. If only OMLLet weren’t so radical, Stanley thought.
Reporting was a hard day’s work, and Stanley felt weary. So, with a delay in his movement, he willed himself to “make” a cheeseburger with his London Ramsay’s Splendid Food Machine. The machine was about the size of a refrigerator, and had various ports to drop ingredients into: one for sandwiches and burgers, one for salads and bowls, one for burritos or tacos, and one for soups or stews. The pizza maker was sold separately, and Stanley didn’t have one, although he wished he did. The sun was just starting to fall lower in the sky, and Stanley wasn’t that hungry, so he dropped a portion of chicken, a portion of lettuce, and a portion of cheese into the maker. He closed a hatch, and within seconds, lasers cooked the chicken, then gently heated the cheese, and water from the fridge wet the lettuce afterwards. Soon, Stanley had a delicious dinner to eat.
After letting his food cool, without the instant cooler, Stanley grabbed his tray and brought it with him to his couch, and sat down once again. He grabbed the TV remote that sat on the left armrest, and pressed the top button to turn his non-AI operated TV on. Quite frankly, Stanley was glad that he never bought any AI program, because they detracted from the real things in life.
The thin gray sheet of a screen faded into the news channel, which was what Stanley had left it at before, showing an online interview between his colleague Jake, and a man at the mayor’s booth, who were discussing highly of the new tax increase. Stanley yawned, not just because the topic was quite boring, but because he was tired. Maybe I’m just hungry.
Taking his first passionate bite into his chicken eyes glued to the TV, Stanley switched the channel to his favorite show, “The Woods,” where a team of survivors had to chop trees, make shelter, and grow food without technology, in a part of the forest that wasn’t under protection by the government. It was supposed to be part of a conservation message, and everyone knew that it was all a scam, including Stanley, but he loved it anyway, for the way the contestants didn’t know how to do a thing. He let himself sink in a little more into the couch, his pants all caught up in the couch, and dug in.
Right now, the second team, Team Lumber, consisting of two skinny, 22-year old guys, were trying to pick wild berries from a bush.
“Dude, how do I know which ones to pick?”
“Just- just pick the red ones!”
“They’re ALL red ones! Man, will you please help me?”
“I’m as lost as you, bruh.”
“Okay, so, maybe we should just see what happens, and then we’ll find out.”
“I don’t know, man, they’re dangerous, right?”
“Ohhh, WHY do we have to do this?”
Stanley couldn’t help but chuckle with a mouth full of chicken. Even without any advanced technology, he could still have a good time. These two surely had no clue.
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try...”
“Wait, no, bruh, DON’T!!”
To Stanley’s horror, the one guy started to break off a bright red berry and raise it towards his mouth. Stanley gasped in horror, almost dropping his chicken. He couldn’t look away, now.
“Why are you doi-”
Before Stanley could know what was going to happen next, his screen turned red. The words “EMERGENCY NEWS ALERT” flashed across the screen, and ominous music played, stopping the program he was watching.
“Oh, come on!”
Stanley’s expression changed, however, when he saw the words. This news flash could only mean one thing: a serious government emergency could be happening, and they were never drills. Examples included war, riots, government measures against the people, or a pandemic.
This time, Stanley dropped his plate of chicken, which tumbled onto the wood floor of the apartment.
Stanley worried fitfully, wondering what the news could be. Quickly, the screen moved, and showed Daniella Spruce from Stanley’s Station 17. Her peppy anime avatar looked in distraught, very different from her usual presence. She spoke in a serious tone, not as grave as Stanley would have thought:
“Just recently, we have uncovered footage of... I can't believe I'm saying this... what appears to be a human in the form of an Artificially Intelligent program. She was found just North of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the city, when one man started recording. Here, take a look:”
The screen cut to footage of Santa Fe, in what appeared to be a neighborhood. Buildings spanned the side of the road, and self-driving cars were parked here and there. Obviously a camera was rolling, but it was fairly shaky, probably by a random passerby. In front of him, and looking around, was one of the flawless-looking anime girls with a long ponytail, two long fringes, green eyes, and wearing a Japanese school uniform, complete with a very short skirt. Strangely enough, she looked perfectly real. It was much too real for a Deepfake, at the very least. The girl looked about 17 or 18, above the old legal age for an AI program, 16, which didn’t exist now, and she was confused, panicked, even, and looking at the filmer.
“Where am I? I- I came from a computer over there,” pointing to the East. “These people, they’re here to take me, and... and I can’t let that happen! Hey, can you help me, please?”
The filmer spoke, clearly dumbfounded by the girl. “Man, you’re hot, I must be dreaming. Why don’t we go to my house and have some fun?”
The girl, although frightened, seemed to have no business with the filmer, which was weird to Stanley, because she must’ve been programmed to flirt with people... or was she not?
“Um... not really, but if you turn that camera off, I’ll do what you want.”
A moment. “Alright, okay, then.” Then, the footage ended. Still, something was off about how the whole thing went down. Stanley didn’t buy the plot of the situation, but he could 100 percent believe that anime girls were real people now. Who knows what people could have been working on? Still, it was very weird having this be a reality, supposedly.
The news cut back to Daniella. “I... I... I don’t know what to say to this! Rest assured, we’ll be able to give more details on what happened as they come out. For those who are near Santa Fe, the government asks that you remain indoors, and keep on lockdown, until this is cleared up. If you happen to come across this figure, we ask that you calmly-”
The screen flashed again, this time with the government censor, “This program has been halted for your convenience.”
Stanley shut off the TV with his remote, visibly shaken. What a ride that was. First an AI runs rampant, a real AI, then the government shuts down the conversation. What could they be doing? He thought about it for a moment, then another, until he couldn’t think anymore. The happenstance of a real, living, breathing human computer program and a government censor could not be a good thing, or at least not a very good thing.
submitted by MicahBanana3939 to DDLC [link] [comments]
2020.09.17 15:32 DerikHallin Camera bathroom small for
Preface Like many of you, I’ve been a hardcore fan of all things Potter for over 20 years. Grew up with the books, soaked in the movies, played many of the games, and explored various supplemental and fan content over the years. I’m over the moon about the official confirmation of what we’ve known now for nearly two years: The “Harry Potter Game” is coming!
It’s been a uniquely interesting ride to get to this point, and because of that, we have some credible information that some folks may not be aware of. I wanted to compile an index of officially confirmed info (currently quite limited), easily deduced conclusions based on the new official trailer, as well as observations from the original leaked trailer and some more esoteric sources. I’ve seen one or two other threads compiling info, but none have included the level of detail and scrutiny that I was looking for. So I’m going to try to do it myself.
I figure it makes sense to organize this into sections based on credibility, and I’m going to start with the most reliable information first. So let’s get into it.
Key takeaways from the blurb, in my opinion:
The trailer adds some context to this blurb, and also a bit of additional information. Here are my comments:
There's also a shot of a dragon, and it looks distinctly different from the dragon we see in the trailer. I wouldn't take this as concrete confirmation that there are multiple dragons / multiple breeds of dragon in the game, but it is a promising possibility.
This article doesn’t reveal too much, but it seems to confirm my identification of the large creature as a graphorn. It also mentions that goblins were “around”, implying they will be in the game but that will be mainly seeing them outside of Gringott’s. This ties into the leaked trailer as well.
Ropp also confirms the existence of Nearly Headless Nick (perhaps the ghost we saw in the trailer?), the Forbidden Forest, centaurs, and inferi (again, probably those draugr-like creatures from the trailer).
Another article worth noting is this one from Wizarding World. I believe this makes it sort of “semi-official” or “2nd party” news, and therefore likely credible. A few key notes from this one:
There was also an article several months ago written by Jason Schreier from Bloomberg, which confirmed the existence of the game (which had been leaked in 2018 -- refer below) and indicated a few small but clearly accurate details. Schreier reported that the game was set in open-world Hogwarts and the “surrounding areas”, would be released in late 2021, and that J. K. Rowling had little direct involvement.
In October 2018, a low quality, seemingly hand-held video of a trailer for an unnamed Harry Potter game was leaked online. The trailer also came with a blurb written by a redditor. I’m not going to tag the user because he seems to have disassociated himself from anything to do with this game, but if he wants credit for this, I will gladly tag him:
Set in the 19th Century (1800’s) Wizarding World, this 3rd person open-world action RPG game centers around your character with unique abilities who has eared (sic) a late acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You are a newly arrived 5th year student to Hogwarts that demonstrates a latent gift for magic with a unique ability to track and identify remnants of a pottant (sic) ancient power. Upon arrival, strange events begin to materialize In the Forbidden Forrest (sic) and trouble begins o (sic) brew within the castle walls. Together with Professor Elezar Fig, you embark on a journey through both familiar and never before seen locations to bring to light the truth behind these mysterious occurrences.On your quest you will craft potions, master new spells, and discover fantastical beasts. You will battle Dark Wizards, Goblins, and other supernatural enemies and uncover the truth about your destiny – the Fate of the Wizarding World lies in your hands. As you can see, a lot of this is uncannily accurate to what we already know. And like I said, industry insiders corroborated much of the leak and the existence of the game. Granted, in two years, a lot can change, so we should not assume all of this is still 100% factual. But I do think it’s pretty safe to conclude that as of two years ago, this was a reliable/credible leak. And therefore, much of this may still be true, or at least reasonably close to true.
Journey to Hogwarts to become one of 8 different Wizard types
If we accept this leaked blurb at face value, then we can make a few more assumptions.
Speaking of the leaked trailer, here are some observations on that:
Something many people are wondering is whether we’ll know any characters in the game. Well, other than Nearly Headless Nick, who seems to already be confirmed, there are several other ghosts that would presumably be present: The Gray Lady, the Fat Friar, the Bloody Baron, and Peeves. Professor Binns might be around as well, either as a ghost or a human. Furthermore, we know Phineas Nigellus Black would be around mid-30s to late 40s depending on the exact year the game is set, so he may be a teacher. And of course, we might see some of the portraits we know and love: The Fat Lady and Violet, Sir Cadogen, etc.
Canonically, there are a couple other characters we know were on the Hogwarts faculty/staff register circa 1876: headmistress Eupraxia Mole and caretaker Rancorous Carpe. However, these are one-off characters from Pottermore, so even if the game is set in 1876, I don’t think most fans would really care whether those characters are in the game. And the game could be set 10 or 20 years later too.
A few wildcards include Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore, Elphias Doge, and Bathilda Bagshot. We know Dumbledore and Doge started at Hogwarts in 1891, and we also know Bathilda was already out of Hogwarts when Dumbledore came in as a first year. We also know that Professor Tofty, one of the O.W.L. examiners, is old enough to have graded Dumbledore's O.W.L. exam. So depending on when the game is set, it is possible we might run into some of those characters.
And lastly, keep in mind that many pureblood families have been carrying on with the same surnames for centuries. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few familiar surnames around -- Black, Malfoy, Bones, MacMillan, Abbott, Crouch, Burke, Prewett, etc. Hell, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see a Potter or Weasley. (Personally, I’d rather not see a Potter, Weasley, or Malfoy, but I wouldn’t be too torn up if they do it -- especially if done well.)
On the other hand, who/what won't we see? Well, anyone who went to Hogwarts after Dumbledore, for starters. That includes, for instance, Newt Scamander, Tom Riddle, etc. Also, the Whomping Willow canonically wouldn't be on the grounds yet. Other than Binns, none of the teachers should even be alive yet, let alone teaching. Moaning Myrtle was killed when Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts, so her bathroom won't be haunted yet. We might see some of the memorable rooms and secret passageways we've read about and/or seen in the movies -- stuff like the room of requirement, the house common rooms, perhaps some of those caved in passageways to Hogsemeade, etc. I believe chocolate frogs and their cards have been around long enough to be in the game, as with some other signature foods and candies. Some shops in Hogsmeade are likely to be recognizable, though many of the shops in the books were likely not around in the 1800s.
If anyone has anything to add, any questions about my sources or objections to my interpretations, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope this helps answer a few questions and shed a bit more light on things while we await further info.
One final note I want to emphasize: Schreier's article specifically said the game is slated for late 2021. So let’s all operate on the assumption that it’s at least a year away from now. I know we’re all excited, but it’s going to take a bit more waiting before we have this in hand. I know we’ve all done our waiting, but just a bit more patience will see us through to the end.
submitted by DerikHallin to HarryPotterGame [link] [comments]
2020.09.16 06:19 BagOfBonezzzzzz [TH][MF] THE FORK (part 1)
[TH][MF] The Fork
What did you end up at? Put it in the Comments.
2020.09.16 03:37 thapenguino The story of how I escaped residential
Ok I have time to post this now. This is from an email I sent to my new best friend I met at the psych ward. We're really close and we keep in touch. I looked through it and I think I removed the personal information. So here's the story of how I successfully awol'd from residential, and did it so well that they let me stay at home when they found out.
Ok so basically I was planning ways I could get out ever since I arrived there. I wasn't sure whether I would actually want to get out, but I wanted to be aware of my surroundings in case I decided it wasn't for me. The first thing I looked for was all the cameras and where any blind spots were. For the first 2 days, I was under very heavy supervision. I couldn't even close the door when I went to the bathroom. After about a week of getting used to the place and knowing all about every room that I had access to, I had an idea forming for how to get out.
And I knew with some certainty that I really hated being there. I mean, you know how much I hated being at the psych ward, but I kept thinking about how I would rather be there then at residential. I just felt trapped all the time. I couldn't do anything without asking, and there were too many rules, and I felt like even though it was a large house, because I was confined to a small area of movement, I felt... claustrophobic I guess. Also, I wasn't able to get enough exercise, especially cause there were fires nearby and the air quality was bad, and I wasn't allowed to do parkour. I actually got in trouble multiple times for doing a flip or a roll and they made it so I wasn't allowed to go outside at all, even when the air was fine.
So how could I get out? At first I considered the obvious option, just making a run for it, but I quickly saw how stupid of an idea that was. No, I wanted to get out without them knowing. The only time I could do that? At night. In my room, I have a roof that's at a 45 degree angle and meets the wall at about hip height. So in some places the ceiling's high and at some places it's low. There are 3 window/skylight things on that roof, in a place I can only reach by jumping, so pretty high up. I know that all the windows to our rooms are alarmed. But I also knew that mine didn't go off when they were opened, because they were opened when I got there and closed only when the air went bad. I have buttons in my room to raise or lower the window/skylight things. It's very loud. The windows only open to make a slot maybe 5 inches wide, not big enough to squeeze through. And they were alarmed, just not on the window part. I figured out that the screen (to keep bugs out) was the part that was alarmed. If I popped out the screen or even pushed on it too hard it would probably go off. So the only way to get out through the window was to cut through the screen.
The only problem with that was my location. I was in a residential. How the hell was I supposed to get something sharp to cut through the screen? I had an idea for that after observing the rc's for a while. They had a refrigerator with sodas in it that happened to be in a blind spot from the cameras. It was behind a counter. I remembered that we had chores that rotated around so everyone would get a different chore every day. One of the chores was sweeping the floor. My plan was to sweep, have all the dust behind the counter, and then bend over to push the dust into the dust pan thing and use that time to crack open the fridge and get a soda can. The plan was to then smuggle that into the bathroom, try to flatten it and hide it in there, then pick it up later after body checks. That way I could get into my room with it.
I ended up not needing to do that though. Since I was in Gilroy, we were close to the fires and the air quality was bad enough that they had us evacuate to another location. This was another house that was similar to the one I had been at, with the same cameras and size and rules. But it hadn't been used yet. They had yet to test it completely and remove anything that could be dangerous to us. In the chaos and uncertainty of moving to a new location, I was able to switch out my shoes for my flip flops. I hid my shoes in my room and wore my flip flops. Then, at night when we went to bed, they took my flip flops and I was able to get my shoes. So if I could get out, now I could also run away. How would I get out though?
I noticed earlier that day that there was someone doing some kind of construction in my room. I inspected the area he was in and found that he had put one of those metal carpet protector things in. It had 3 nails holding it down. One edge of the metal strip was exposed and poking up a little bit. I was able to get a few fingers under it and pry the edge up. I used it like a lever and managed to pull up one of the nails by about a centimeter. Then I bent the metal strip back down to make it look flat and tried to pull the rest of the nail out. I couldn't get a good grip on it, so I got my shoelace, which I wasn't supposed to have, and I wrapped it around the head of the nail and pulled. It gave me enough leverage and the nail went free.
Now I had a sharp object, and my shoes.
Theoretically, all I needed to escape. The sharp object to disable whatever security there was and the shoes to sprint out of there.
Unfortunately, the alarm here was different. It was a small rectangle with a speaker and a battery compartment. It was on the wall next to a sliding glass door. The door had a magnet on it. Here's a picture I found of it.
So I had three ideas I wanted to try to disable this thing;
2020.09.15 01:21 Lovetheangelshadow Small camera for bathroom
Chapter 9: One More Special Guest Shelly’s arm was sore as heck when she woke up that morning. She had just barely shoved her outfit under the bed before flopping face down after Silver had taken her home. Neither of them had really talked to each other when they escaped or flew across town to her neighborhood. Numerous times, Shelly had attempted to lighten the mood but they all fell flat as nothing seemed to get even a cringe grin from her angelic partner. Silver was frowning the entire time and occasionally repeated how he had Prism Beak in his grasp. She had to admit her situation with the tiger was in large part her fault. She did not think her assault all the way through. She could have even used another stink bomb which would not have put her in that kind of danger. Either way there was one thing that was clear. They had failed to protect the people they had sworn to keep safe. Madame Tink had been kidnapped and who knows how many others got hurt during the mob stampede. Not to mention the two detectives who were going to arrest them regardless even if they had succeeded. Shelly made a slow scream into her pillow before she could finally fall asleep.
The weekend had passed and Shelly was unable to get ahold of Reed. None of her voicemails or texts got answered. She only started this when she heard her morning radio go off as part of her alarm. At first she was going to hit the snooze button one time as was her routine until she heard the words “Feronia Gardens” and “last night”. She forced herself out of her groggy stupor and turned up the volume just a smidge.
“While the Silver Guardian and his sidekick were able to prevent one Prism Beak from killing Morgan Altamiri-they failed to capture the villain and his clown companion as well was fail to prevent Madame Tink of being kidnapped. No ransom demands…” Shelly hit the off button hard.
“I’d like to see them handle supervillains themselves”, Frix huffed. Shelly told him to shush it and sent a text to Reed. She had a feeling that she needed to talk to him and quick. On the weekends, Shelly worked a half day at her father’s hardware store doing mostly odd jobs such as keeping the shelves stocked and the front of the store clean and spotless. During her break she checked her phone. None of her messages had been responded to. She did not want to seem like a pest so she texted Thomas instead. She got a faster response from him this time. No, Reed was not responding to his messages either and yes he saw the news. It was the same on the radio, television, and internet-every news outlet was focusing on the two’s failure of capturing the aggressors. He seemed even more worried about it than Shelly. He would try to get back to her since he was supposed to see Reed at work that night.
On Monday, Shelly met up with Thomas in homeroom. Reed was not there. When she asked about it, Thomas told her Reed did not show up for work that night and didn’t call in either. He was lucky he was still in his probation period for his job.
“It’s not like him especially since…well it doesn’t matter. How’s your shoulder?” Shelly rubbed her right shoulder a bit. It was still slightly sore but at least she could raise her arm without a minor stab of pain. She had a heck of a time cleaning her outfit too. Fine dust and something blue and sticky had been stuck to the pink fabric and took three washes to get it out. Reed was not seen at homeroom. Or English. Or math. Or even at lunch. Thomas called Reed’s house towards the end of lunch and got in contact with Reed’s mother. She thought he was at school since their chauffer had dropped Reed off at the school early. After school they went into Blackbird’s office. Reed was not there either and Blackbird had not been in contact with Reed all day. It turned out the two were not the only ones who sent messages to the blonde boy that weekend. Two more days had passed and still no one saw Reed. Twice they were told Reed had been dropped off at the school and picked up and yet no one saw him in any of their shared classes. Their answer came when Blackbird showed several internet articles he had found over the past three days. Each one was focused solely on the Silver Guardian. The winged hero was seen patrolling the city and stopping various crimes in progress. Neither of his friends believed it. Reed was skipping school to be Silver Guardian almost the entire day.
“What the hell were you thinking?” It was Thursday when Reed finally made an appearance in school. There were heavy dark circles under his eyes and his usual coif was sloppy. Even his typically pressed uniform was rumpled. He flopped half groggy over his desk and cupped his ears a bit when Shelly yelled at him.
“Could you not be so loud? I’ve got a splitting headache right now…” he moaned.
“The point is what the heck were you thinking skipping three days of school. And on midterm week?!” Thomas repeated Shelly’s question-this time lower so the whole classroom didn’t hear them.
“I was trying to find Prism Beak and that clown. Just add that to my list of failures.” His face fell flat onto the desk and he started snoozing. Both his comrades had to shake him awake before the teacher got in.
“The best detectives you have, you said. They’ll arrest the Silver Guardian you said. Well now we’ve got Madame Tink kidnapped by a damn clown!” Foxwell was yelling his lungs out in the commissioner’s office as his face was a bright tomato red.
“Sir, we had almost had them but the crowd went into a panic and”, Sierra explained.
“I don’t want to hear it! I want results! What is the point of a Zero Tolerance rule if we stretch it for a couple of costumed freaks? Are you trying to make me look like a fool?” Sierra was greatly tempted to respond with a ‘maybe’, but she decided to behave for her boss’ and partner’s sakes. The two continued to get the bulk of Foxwell’s wrath until Commissioner Kent could get the man to calm down and assure him they would do whatever was necessary for the arrest.
Sierra had gone and gotten herself the largest most caffeine laden coffee she could get out of the breakroom before she returned to the office. All the pins they had used to mark the Silver Guardian sightings had been removed and replaced with the photos of Madame Tink, Fire Chief Bringer, and Morgan Altamiri. A purple pin had been placed next to their photos on Altamiri Studios and Feronia Gardens.
“Did you just remove ALL of our work just now?”
“Yes”, Bruce said simply. Sierra chuckled a little. She loved his directness.
“I did some thinking regarding these recent appearances with Prism Beak and his partner.”
“So it looks like someone is getting nabbed at each place that involves the Altamiri Company. The fire chief was taken at the Studio. And the Altamiri company is a heavy sponsor of the Golden Harvest which is always held at the Feronia Gardens”, Sierra surmised.
“It does, doesn’t it? There’s a pattern here, I know it. This just feels very familiar.” He grabbed the phone and called Records.
“Hey Marcus can you do a favor for me? Cross reference Madame Tink and Fire Chief Fredrick Bringer. See if you can find anything that has those names together-even if it was a street brawl.”
“While he’s at it, bring up the Prism Beak file.”
“Yeah, you heard it. Add Prism Beak too. Okay okay full box from Hadies. Well don’t blame me for your falling into police movie stereotype. Ha ha okay-call me when you find it and I’ll pick it up.” When he hung up Sierra asked just how this was going to help with their Guardian problem. Bruce’s reasoning was that if they find Prism Beak-the Silver Guardian would not be too far behind to hunt them down. Sierra hummed and nodded slightly even if she didn’t like it.
“So you think this Ronder fellow is their next target.” Blackbird had a digital map on the main monitor of the super computer. There were location markers on the Altamiri Studio and the Feronia Gardens with Fredrick Bringer and Madame Tink’s pictures beside them. In the corner was a picture of Nathanial Ronder.
“Let’s just say I have a hunch”, was Blackbird’s response to Shelly. Shelly squinted her eyes at the three photos. Something about them seemed to ring familiar in her mind. Like somehow she knew the answer to the pattern, but it was not coming through. She had met Ronder once or twice in memory when her mother took her to work. What did this man have to do with clowns though?
“So do we need to follow this Ronder and wait until the clown shows up?” Reed questioned. Yeah that has so worked out well for you this past few days hasn’t it? Shelly thought.
“I think we need to be a lot smarter about this. Don’t forget about laser face. That guy’s got a hate on your family. I mean he almost killed your brother twice this month”, Shelly declared out loud. Reed tensed slightly when she mentioned Marco. She uttered a sorry in low whisper to him before resuming her normal voice. She tapped on both the studio and atrium and placed purple X’s on each of them.
“The studio is owned by the Altamiri Company obviously and is one of the biggest sponsors of the Golden Harvest Community Chest. So now let us think this out. Three days have passed and so far there hasn’t been any news of him disappearing yet. Maybe they’re waiting until he’s somewhere heavily involved with your family’s company?” Blackbird raised an eyebrow as if genuinely surprised by Shelly’s deduction. Reed was half asleep and missed most of it. She had to ask him a second time if there was anything that he knew that could narrow it down. He grumbled through half yawns that he again knew very little of what happened in his father’s business. It wasn’t entirely lying. Anything he heard was usually if his big brother did some major accomplishment or during the holidays for the local commercials. A lot of it was kept hush hush for obvious reasons until the production aired. Blackbird finally stated he might have an idea. He tapped a location on the city map on a building called Milton Auctions. From there he pulled up an internet article detailing that the second building to the Cadric City Arena was being put up for sale.
“Seventeen years ago the arena caught fire during a show accident. Most of the interior had been destroyed. LeBatte Industries bought the main arena and funded most of the reconstruction. However, there had been a second arena attached to the main one for smaller shows. The construction had never been fully completed and was mostly used as a backstage area for years. It has been falling apart for over a decade. Mayor Ambrose, before the gorilla incident, had proposed reconstruction of the second stage. Several private and public companies are bidding on this tomorrow night.” He pointed to two names. One was Ronder Bailey Circus and the other was Altamiri Advertising. Something flashed in Shelly’s mind. Again it was the feeling as when she saw Bringer and Tink on the map. She rapped her head with the palms of her hands as if that was going to pry it loose.
“The auction house is very close Cadric Park”, Reed observed. “Rumor has it there are several entrances to the Underground around and near there. It would be easy for them to escape.”
“Oh the plus side there won’t be as many people and not as many police to deal with”, Blackbird mused. He told them both to rest up for both their finals. As Shelly grabbed her bag to take to the elevator, Blackbird requested that Reed remain behind for a few minutes. Once Shelly was out of the training room, Blackbird commented, “I am quite aware of what you have been doing for the past few days.” Reed yawned and grumbled he was just trying to search. Blackbird made appear several internet news blogs all with ranging from blurry photos to semi unprofessional clear pictures. The Silver Guardian had halted a bank robbery, broke up a fight, among a few other minor instances of stopping crimes. Reed huffed that he failed to understand what the problem was. He was fighting crime, right? Wasn’t that what he was supposed to do?
“Reed, let me give you some advice. You’re both Reed Altamiri and the Silver Guardian. You have a responsibility to both.” Reed snorted in disbelief.
“It’s not like Reed Altamiri is good for anything” he hissed in a very low tone thinking Michael Blackbird could not hear him.
“You seem very sure of that”, Blackbird said and then snickered as the color flushed from Reed’s face for a moment.
“Very well, learn the hard way.” Then he grabbed Reed’s tie and jerked him with surprising force for a one armed old man. “Don’t skip any more classes because I can and will ground the Silver Guardian.” Reed groaned a fine and fixed his tie when he was finally released. He didn’t like the way Blackbird said for him to learn the hard way. At least when he was the Silver Guardian people actually acknowledged him-even if they saw him more of a villain.
Down below Madame Tink had screeched and bellowed for three days. She refused to eat out of the food bowls like some common urchin and each time Circus Freak entered the space she demanded to be released. Fredrick begged for her to be silent or at least stop parroting the same demands over and over again. It had gotten to the point where he begged the clown to use the knock out gas on Madame Tink or at least on him so he would not have to listen to her anymore. Circus Freak would just perform a little tap dance and tell him that it served him right. On the third day he once again appeared with the push cart of covered dog dishes. Once again Madame Tink refused ‘pedestrian food’ as she put it.
“And yet every time I return our bowl is empty. I am certain you are not using the spaghetti to cut the bars to your cage. Ah but you need not wait for much longer soon. Tonight we will be graced by one more special guest and then aaaaaaaaalllllll your questions will be answered. And then…and then…you will be a part of the best and final show of the Ronder Bailey Circus.” Then someone happened they did not expect. As Circus Freak was swapping out the bowls between the bars, Madame Tink had managed to grab the clown by their mask and slammed them against the bars. Circus Freak bounced back in defense and the strap holding their mask in place snapped in half. Madame Tink screamed in vile horror at the face that stared back. Bringer gasped and was trying to not wretch inside his cage. They smiled a half lipped grin as they got closer to the cage to retrieve their mask. All the while Madame Tink screamed for them to get away and pressed her hefty body against the back of the trailer. Her sudden weight almost made the thing tip back. Circus Freak rammed the cage level telling her it would not do if she got injured too soon before holding their mask back to their face.
Once outside he saw his partner removing the last dents out of his suit.
“I must commend on your ability. Hard to believe you were…terminated for incompetence.” Prism Beak managed to hoist one of his discharge canons at the clown, but he knew it wouldn’t do him any good. The damn joker still had his control over his precious suit.
“I could have had my revenge several times over by now! Why did we have to wait until this…auction thing for some dumb building some dumb mayor proposed to fix to fix another dumb mayor’s folly?” Circus Freak tilted his head like he was a wind up doll that need to be charged again.
“It is the art of the thing. Besides, I like to think of him stewing in his own juices before the curtain falls. And we did make a bargain, remember? One more actor for my show and I produce the plan you need to eradicate one Morgan Altamiri. Have I steered you wrong, yet?”
“You did keep me from killing his precious son-twice! I would have loved to see the gut wrenching pain in that man’s face. He ruined me and I wanted to ruin him the second I got that lucky break with that monkey attack. And you…”
“If you killed his son then you would have had all of the Cadric City police force AND the Silver Guardian down on our necks faster than a cotton candy in a child’s hand. Impatience is what caused your initial failure. Try it again before I get Ronder and I will gladly throw you to the wolves…Henry Fowler.” Prism Beak snarled but held back. It was just one more night. Just one more night in this rank building and having to suffer under the whims of the fool.
Circus Freak had moved their way downtown through the maze of the Underground. When they emerged to the surface-their surroundings was a barren dirt area. Despite being in a very public area, the place they stood was blocked off with massive wooden planks from casual view. There were fresh tracks of heavy tires in the dirt by their feet and they grinned. So, they were already here. They pushed aside a heavy board and squeezed themselves inside. Heavy piles of black ash kicked about their feet and as they went further down the sounds of drills and hammering increased. Once outside the tunnel they pressed their palms together in delight. Several black garbed workers were bolting together Circus Freak’s special death trap. Half sitting half leaning on a crate was a small man dressed in a long green coat and wore a top hat adored with time pieces, gears, wires. Large coke bottle goggled adorned their rat-like face as they tapped their buck teeth overlooking the project.
“Ah senor Circus, I trust you like what you see”, the little man wheezed in a thick Spanish accent.
“Pah, a bit too pretty if you ask me. Villains these days. All flash and no form. Back in my day, we did our own weapon designs. But one must change with the times. What you order I shall build. Though I must say your specifications were…odd. I am not one to pry into the affairs of others-but do you actually have a specific purpose for this contraption’s appearance?” Circus Freak glared down at the midget of a man. His dismissing tone was far to reminiscing of Prism Beaks and it was getting rather annoying.
“Poetic justice. I am going to kill them-just as they killed us.”
“Revenge? Bah. A worthless endeavor. No profit in it. With that suit of yours I built you could have millions! Be sitting like a king! But nooooo-waste my time and talent for some imaginary…” The rat faced midget found Circus Freak’s hand pressing against his Adam’s apple and threating to crush it in an instant. The little fiend wheezed a chortling laugh at this hilarity.
“Oh please, do you honestly think you are the first bad guy to threaten my life?” The sounds of construction had halted in almost an instant and replaced with the clicking of guns being aimed at their head. The crew had been swift to trade hammers for firearms in almost an on the spot. The clown slowly loosened their grip and side stepped away from the green garbed gremlin.
“That’s a good clown. Be assured your death trap, camera array with crew, and transmission jammer will be ready when you are. I assume you will be ready soon. I don’t like to waste time when my crew can be somewhere else.”
“No. In fact, the last guest will be in their dressing room by tonight’s end.”
The guests had filed on the main lobby-partaking in the offered coffee and water and chatting it up with other bidders. Reed was inside the lobby as himself wearing a black blazer over his regular school uniform and leaning against the wall watching the people mingle about. He had been standing there for a good forty minutes now and he did not even get so much as sideways glance even as people’s walked very close to him to grab cups of water. He felt a little sting even if being just part of the background was the plan. In his earpiece, Shelly was humming the ‘Small World’ theme just low enough to be annoying.
“Could you sing something else or just not sing at all?” he hissed.
“Aw but Mission Impossible is soooo cliché”, she whined. “And at least YOU get to be inside with the refreshments.”
“Your job is to watch for anything suspicious outside. And as the Guardian blending in isn’t your strong suit”, responded Blackbird over the radio. Reed twisted his ring on his finger. The whole point of the Silver Guardian was to NOT blend in, he believed.
“Don’t even think about it, Reed”, Splinterbark sang in his ear. Reed looked around but he could not see his pink partner anywhere he stood.
“How…how did you?”
“You tend to hum that weird tune when you fiddle with that ring. Brrr, is there like hot coco in there because I seriously could use it.”
“I’m serious! I can’t even tell what’s suspicious anymore. Even the taco truck that just went by looks mistrustful Mmm….tacos…” Reed pulled out the earpiece and shoved it in his coat pocket when she and Frix started making drooling sounds. He saw his father approach towards the coffee table. The whole time he fixed his drink-he did not even look at his son. Still Reed scuttled to behind a potted fern just to be safe.
Suddenly he saw his father stand erect and shudder when someone approached from behind.
“Ah, Morgan, how nice to see you in the flesh. Usually you’re just a voice on the phone whenever you call our humble broadcast station.” Morgan’s eye twitched but he politely turned to face his addresser. Nathaniel Ronder had done away with the typical coat with the CCTV logo and was garbed in a gaudy rhinestone encrusted red coat and a tall top hat. He would have looked more in place at a theatre show or band concert than a serious event as was here.
“Nathaniel Ronder, surprised to see you here. I thought you were practically bankrupt after the fire incident.” Ronder casually laughed it off much to Morgan’s actual surprise.
“Oh just a little nest egg I have been cultivating for the past decade. I’m thinking of going back to real showbiz. Ronder’s Emporium of Spectaculars! The wonders of the circus all year round. A small theme park that might even rival Dominion Park. What do you think?” Morgan tried to not crush the cup of hot coffee in his hand or just splash it right in Ronder’s pudgy face. He rubbed his temples as if that was going to quell this dark vengeful and very tempting feeling.
“Morgan Altamiri, fancy seeing you here!” Reed watched in amazement as a third guest wrapped one massive bear arm around Morgan’s sizeable chest and squeezed. Morgan gasped and wheezed out a ‘let me go you red faced Viking’. Desmond Dougal laughed heartily as Morgan refilled the air back into his lungs and was stunned he didn’t spell any coffee onto his suit. The crimson bearded oaf then turned an eye to Ronder. There was something in his glare that even made Reed feel unsettled. He was a giant compared to the little man in the red suit and Ronder excused himself saying he thought he saw someone from Cadric TV.
“What…what did you…”
“Something those old pulp magazine stories called the ‘evil eye’. Ooooohhhhh. But slapping your family name on something outside your company ties ain’t exactly your style, Morgan.” Reed thought he saw something downcast in his father’s face-an expression he thought he was not capable of. Anger, happiness, determination sure, but actual sadness? He didn’t even see that when Reed’s mother was…
“I have no intention of ‘slapping my family name’ as you so jejunely put it. I want that extension razed completely to the ground until there is no trace of it and it becomes nothing more than a parking structure.”
“That incident still bothers you doesn’t it? Even after all these years?” there was no mirth in Desmond’s voice this time.
“I could have lost them. All because of that stupid woman and that….” Morgan realized he was rambling and saying things openly he’d rather not. He shook his head and hissed, “Speaking of, why are you here? Planning to build another one of your garish hostels?”
Desmond seemed to be able to catch on Morgan’s attempt to derail the conversation and shrugged quite nonchalantly. “Eh, thinking of branching out a little. Maybe dabble into the restaurant business.”
“And here I thought you were about to say a theme park with cartoon animals.”
“Ha ha! Maybe I will. Maybe let your company work out the public image? Too bad the location isn’t suited for it.”
“I hear you’ve been busy fixing your hotel after the incident two weeks ago. Impressive how you recovered in less than 24 hours while everyone else was in the hospital for a few days. What is your secret?” Desmond just laughed and credited having a strong constitution born of Scottish ancestry. Morgan voiced aloud he seriously doubted that. Then Desmond leaned in and smirked,
“You have your special secrets and I have mine”, in a devilish all-knowing tone. Morgan had little time to react to the claim because the bell sounded over the speakers and the two large doors to the auction room opened. Morgan brushed past Desmond and seated himself as far as possible. That man had a way getting people to talk freely to him and he hated it.
Everyone was seated inside the auction house’s auditorium. Reed took his place in the shadows of the window curtains glancing between Ronder and his father. It was a bit of a tricky task as there were balloon columns everywhere and kept blocking his view. Outside Splinterbark slipped into the backstage area to get out of the cold for a bit. Frix grumbled that he was still sticking to her right shoulder where the tiger had slammed them. The flashback of nearly being eaten by a big cat made Splinterbark shiver down to her knees.
“Don’t tell me that big feline actually scared a tough little thing like you”, Frix scoffed.
“M-m-me? Scared of a big bad cat that nearly ate me and I watched get shot literally two feet from my face? Nah, of course I’m totally not still freaking out.” As she stood there rubbing her arms, she thought she saw odd looking shadows on the opposite end of the room.
“Hey partner, I think I saw someone just come back here towards the stage. Reed, you still have a visual on Ronder? Reed? Hey, you there? Boss, is Reed alright?”
“I’m still getting a signal from his radio. I don’t know why he isn’t responding. Try to see if you can get a visual inside the main stage.”
Splinterbark tried to run to the doors that lead to the main area and smacked into something hard with her legs. The thing rolled back and knocked her feet underneath her and she slammed hard on the ground.
“Shelly! Shelly you alright?”
“I’m fine…my elbow broke my fall. Jeez what I hit?” Splinterbark pulled out a penlight at her legs. Rolling by her foot was a tank labeled with a picture of a balloon and helium printed underneath it. On the floor were several other tanks but were upright. An impish thought came to mind and she opened up one of the nozzles to pitch her voice. She had barely turned the nozzle when a slow whip of gas leaked out and she suddenly felt groggy. Not enough to knock her out but like that state where you do and don’t want to sleep at the same time.
“That is a weirdest helium I’ve ever inhaled”, she said out loud. Looked around there was an open box of balloons and a spool of wire with small piles of sand on the ground around them. Sleepy gas? Balloons?
“Reed! Reed, do you copy? Reed respond!” She tried to open the door marked stage entrance but it wouldn’t budge. She was about to use a pin to pick the door lock when she thought she heard an odd shuffling on the other side. Splinterbark lifted up her helmet a bit so she could put her bare ear against the wood. She could heard two voices and one of them was a bit distorted. This was going to hurt the heating bill, but Splinterbark had to hear what was on the other side. She traced her finger on a small part of the molding and focused her power right on that spot. The wood fell apart just enough to allow sound to come through but not enough for those on the other side to notice.
“…And why can’t I kill him now? He’s bloody right there!”
“In an auction house? You have no style. No sense of dramatic and ironic death. You want to destroy him where he destroyed you. A full and delicious vengeance. After all, there is a reason I chose that one place for my final show.”
“To hell with ‘dramatics’. I want it now!”
“You try and right back to the island you go.”
Splinterbark moved back from the door and yelled into the earpiece for Reed to say something. She knew he was going to hate her for this but she pulled out a police whistle she had bought from her father’s store. She had initially bought it to warn citizens or direct traffic-not to blow out her partners’ eardrums. She apologized to Frix and Blackbird and blew hard into the microphone. There was a sound of a microphone getting fumbled before a “Sheesh, you almost blew my cover!”
“Well next time actually respond when I call you! Hey, are there like a lot of balloons in there?”
“There is a lot of balloon towers in the auditorium stage. Why?”
“Reed I think those balloons are filled with-“ A large hand clamped around her mouth and she could feel the earpiece being ripped from her ear. Splinterbark jabbed her free elbow back and hit metal instead. In the dim light a crystal began to glow in front of her face.
“Well well well if it isn’t the little sidekick? Where is your partner?” Prism Beak moved the point on his prism cannon closer to her face. Suddenly he yelled out as shards of beech wood stuck to his unarmored legs. His grip loosened enough for Splinterbark to slide down between his arms and smacked the handle of her hook against his legs.
“You little brat! I’m going to vaporize you that not even your mommy will be able to fill your ashes into a mason jar!” Splinterbark rolled just out to the side of the garage as blast soared just above her back. She ran around the back of the auction house expecting Prism Beak to be right behind her. Much to her surprise she saw nothing coming behind her. She was certain Prism Beak couldn’t fly. Frix yelled for her to look behind her just as she felt a sharp prick in the thick fabric of her neck. The imp plucked it out and was nearly grounded under the weight of the dart. It had only just scratched her and already that same woozy feeling from the gas was beginning to overtake her. She fought hard against it even as the hard ground was spinning under her feet. A blur of red, white, and orange was gradually making their way closer to her. The image reached out a white gloved hand and held her upwards by her high collar.
“You’re a stubborn little monkey aren’t you? I should kill you for what you did to my pet but…”
“Oh just let me fry the brat. No one is gonna miss her”, Prism Beak’s voice grated in Splinterbark’s ears.
“Use your brain you blast happy harpy. If this little joey figured out where we were going to strike, the Silver Guardian cannot be far behind. And this time, I will be holding her hostage, cactus butt.”
“Shelly? Shelly, what about the balloons?” Reed panicky whispered into his headset.
“Something has gone wrong with the signal. Hang on I’ll see if I can get into the security cameras in there”, Blackbird returned before a sound of furious typing drummed in Reed’s ear.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THANK YOU FOR COMING TO THIS BIDDING FOR THE SECOND STAGE AT OUR BEAUTIFUAL AND HISTORIC CADRIC CITY ARENA!” Foxwell’s booming voice drowned out the impatient whisperings of the crowd.
“As you know, our dear mayor had a proposal to finally fix the half burnt section of the arena which has remained derelict for over a decade. Unfortunately with other things such as blonde angel gods and the ilk they attract constantly berating this city, there just has not been enough in the city budget to do much of anything. And that is where you lovely people come in. The city is selling the property to do with as they please…within reason of course. Our dear mayor Ambrose would have liked to be in here himself but sadly is still recovering from the terrible gorilla incident not too long ago. An incident, I might add, a certain Golden and Silver Guardian failed to prevent in the first place.” The strong spotlights on the crowd prevented him from being aware of two very hateful glares from the auditorium.
“So before we begin the bidding a bit of background about the property…”
“Reed, I can’t find Shelly on the cameras”, Blackbird gasped in the earpiece. Reed glanced at Ronder and Morgan and then at the door.
“But…but what about…”
“She’s your partner, Reed. I’m putting in a call to the police, now. Go!” Reed grimaced but ran out the auction door and slammed it hard leaving Foxwell to yell out who interrupted him. After a quick transformation in the bathroom, Silver made his way outside and flew up above the building to get a better vantage point. He then saw something long and light brown on the ground around the back. Hovering down, his hand gripped around Splinterbark’s hook weapon with a frustrated and half groggy Frix pinned underneath it. He cupped his massive hands underneath the imp and shook him demanding to know what happened. Frix staggered on Silver’s arm as he crawled his way onto Silver’s shoulder.
“We found tanks of some kind of groggy gas and then Prism Beak caught us. That clown freak hit Shelly with a dart and grabbed her somewhere in the back door. He pointed a claw at the slightly open door marked Backstage.
“Sleeping gas…balloons…no! Damn it, how could I be so stupid?!” Frix squawked what the heck Silver was gabbing about as he shoved his way into the back door.
Inside Foxwell was at about the midway point though his speech when someone from the side of the stage began clapping loudly and whistling. The deputy mayor demanded to know who was interrupting him a second time. Circus Freak twirled their way on the right stage while Prism Beak came from the left.
“Quite a spiel you’re making, deputy mayor. You would have made quite a barker in the old days…if they actually existed. But I think we can speed up the effect don’t you think?” Circus Freak clicked a button and popping noises erupted from the sides of the seating area. The balloons began to burst and wheeze out their contents into the crowd. Many coughed and sputtered as they tried to get out before collapsing on the ground.
Circus Freak hopped between bodies until they located Ronder. Ronder was still a bit conscious because he managed to croak just what did the clown want.
“Oh nothing much. Just a little public revenge and you’re my last special guest.” A large gust of wind blew behind them and they released one grip on their prey to shield their face. The large doors burst open and a sudden suction pulled the gas out of the room. Then Prism Beak flew over their heads thanks so someone tossing him clear over the seats. Silver held one pistol directly at Circus Freak and announced they were not going to get away this time.
“Are you certain about that?” Circus Freak pressed a button and Silver heard a winch release above his head. From behind the curtain, Splinterbark was tied up above him and something like a small red box was attached her chest.
“Your choice Silver Guardian; either you get us walk and dispense long overdue justice or let your useless partner die in flames.” Silver stepped back a little and the clown was taking this as a cue to leave. They were about to exit the large doors when the large wall section around the doors cracked and collapsed into an impassible heap in front of them. Circus Freak snarled that they had warned them and pressed the switch. Silver had managed to rip the incendiary bomb from Splinterbark’s netting and took the brunt of the blast. As he was busy carefully using his gun to cut away her ropes, Prism Beak was blasting the debris away to enable their escape. Both had just finished with one party exiting and the other after them.
submitted by Lovetheangelshadow to SuperheroStories [link] [comments]
2020.09.14 23:29 yayoffbalance Small camera for bathroom
Hello! So I am in the first place I have ever owned, have been living here for four years, and my husband and I are looking to make updates for the kitchen, bath, and floor with hopes to sell within the next 2-3 years. It's a tiny condo with bedroom, kitchen, and bath all on the same floor. The whole place, including the loft, is 960 sq. ft.
I just got Silestone Pietra countertops installed in the kitchen and bath (would probably never have the same in both again), and I'm at a loss now. The cabinets in both are a creamy-golden maple color and husband is vehemently opposed to painting the cupboards (replacing isn't really in the cards, considering the other updates needed, due to cost). Here's the issue. This freaking pietra color is insane. It's got white, light and dark grey, dark-dark blue (almost black but just off enough to see it), greige (a yellow-ish greige), and even very small golden veins. it seems to really change depending on the lighting.
Since the bath and kitchen have the same cabinets and counter tops, I don't want to follow the same color scheme in both. We bought black faucets because in the store, the deep veins looked black, not blue-ish, and I thought black would be striking but still allow for more leeway in the broader color pallet. But now I'm not sure if it's right. I think we could pull off the black faucets in one room, but I think in both would back us into a corner. Also, kitchen appliances are all black and I'm really, really hoping I can talk hubs into allowing a paint job on the cupboards in the kitchen.
Finally, you can see into the bathroom from the kitchen and you can see into both from the hallway. The bathroom gets more white natural light most of the day, while the kitchen barely gets some in the morning, but due to the cupboards and shadow, it tends to stay a very warm light.
The Question: Could I use a medium-dark pacific blue or slate blue and black to design, with the golden-ish cupboards, in one room, and then go with mostly black and white with those freaking cupboards and a contrasting accent color (not blue) in the other?
Post script: I'm pretty unconventional, but I want the place to sell without doing a complete over hall in three years- meaning I don't want super neutrals all over.
Thank you. Seriously, any help will be just bloody magical.
Oops, yes... Pics. New counters https://imgur.com/gallery/eq531et Sorry all. Bathroom lighting wasn’t picking up any different than kitchen with my camera. Floors are going eventually,too.
submitted by yayoffbalance to interiordecorating [link] [comments]
2020.09.14 18:51 TheBottomsOfOurFeet Small camera for bathroom
I've been having experiences lately with something mimicking my family and more recently my partner's father. I've been told that this could be demonic but I don't necessarily think it's evil, just unsettling. I was wondering what y'all think. I'm posting my experiences below:
I was staying with my parents for a few months while my partner was out of state and one night I was staying up really late bc of my insomnia (like around 3 am) and I was just chillin in my bed, one earbud in my left ear but no sound was playing, and on my right side (which, for clarification, is away from any access points, like people would have to walk around my bed to get to that ear and even then there was a bunch of stuff that they would've had to move in order to get close enough for this) in my right ear, really loud, a man's voice straight up said "Boo." Really calmly, like someone trying to scare you. It was directly in my ear and I could feel their breath on my ear when they said it.
I like jumped a little and turned on my flashlight and looked around but there wasn't anyone there.
So I had my flashlight on and I was looking around but there was no one and the house was dead silent. Then I heard the stairs start creaking and the sound of a man talking, almost like he was talking to himself, as he was walking down the stairs. From where I was sleeping I could see the stairs and there wasn't anyone there.
Then the next thing that happened was, one night I was going downstairs to look for my mom to talk to her about something, and their bedroom door is at the base of the stairs, like there's just a short hallway big enough for the door of the laundry room and then their bedroom doorway. So as I'm coming downstairs I see that the lamp is on in their room. It's not super bright but you can still see most stuff. And as I'm walking down I see my mom walk across the room into their attached bathroom. So I'm like okay, mom went to the bathroom, I'll catch her when she comes out. So I turn down the main hallway to go see what's going on in the front room, bc the light was on, and turns out, my mom is in there. She was working on a craft project my grandmother sent her. There was no way she could go from her room to the front room without me seeing her and basically walking alongside her. And I knew it wasn't my dad bc he was playing video games really loudly in his office. So idk what I saw in my parents room but it looked like my mom. And I want to add that since then I've been having dreams about this, me coming down and seeing her walk across, but in my dreams this thing that isn't my mother turns and smiles at me really big and it has teeth that look like blades, really shiny and sharp.
Another time I was taking a nap in my brother's room and I was awoken by a voice that sounded like my youngest brother saying "help!" I was literally jolted out of sleep by it. When I opened my eyes it was really dark in the room bc night had fallen while I was napping, and my brother's closet doors were open and I saw the outline of a small person standing in the closet. Again, I pulled out my flashlight and shined it in the closet but no one was there. My brother ended up being fine, playing video games in another room when I checked on him. There's no way I would've been able to hear him from outside of the room, I have hearing loss and the house has thick walls. So it was pretty spooky. I got the feeling something was trying to mimic my brother the way something had mimicked my mother.
The last thing that happened at my parent's house wasn't mimicry but was still weird. My dad pulled me aside one night and said "look, if you're going to come downstairs in the middle of the night, you need to turn the lights off when you're done." And I was like "wtf are you talking about, I don't come downstairs and turn lights on in the middle of the night." He ended up asking all of my siblings if we had done it the previous night and we all said no. He told us that when he woke up in the morning the kitchen lights were all on and the outside cameras showed that they came on around 3 am and also showed the shadow of someone moving around in the kitchen. He also said that that night, before the lights came on, he and my mom heard a loud bang that sounded like someone was banging on their bedroom door. They opened it and looked around but there was no one there. He also said it might have come from upstairs if someone was in the bathroom above their room and dropped something. But none of us had used the bathroom that night and none of us heard anything. It was really strange.
So then, my partner was coming back home and I went back home as well. I got home the day before his flight landed. I was in our kitchen moving stuff around and cleaning up and I threw away an empty pill bottle in our kitchen trash can. Well I was doing something in the kitchen, facing away from the trash can, and something hit my back and fell to the floor. When I turned around to look bc I was like wtf, it was the pill bottle. Like someone just picked it up and threw it at me. And I knew it was the same one bc it was the bottle for some pet medicine we had given our cats before we left, that we hadn't bought in months before that. So we only had the one bottle.
Before we left for the two months, we never had anything strange or paranormal happen in our house. Since getting back we've both heard footsteps and voices. Our house is raised and kinda like a mobile home so when people walk the house can sometimes shake a little if they walk heavily, and we can feel that happening when we hear the footsteps. My partner's dad lives with us when he's not at his girlfriend's place and lately I've been hearing his voice when he's not home. This morning I heard him clear his throat, which is something he does a lot bc he's a smoker, and when I went to see if he was here, he wasn't. The reason I think this is mimicry again aside from the voices is because the other night I was in the bathroom and the door was cracked a little, so I could see a sliver of our bed. I heard and felt footsteps so I looked in the crack and I saw a black shape of a person, roughly the same size of my partner's dad except shorter, lean over our bed like they were reaching for something that was closer to the other side, and then stand up and walk away. I don't know what to make of it.
I just finished typing all this and I just heard him clear his throat again in the other room .-. he's still not home.
Tldr: something is mimicking people in my life and being annoying, help
submitted by TheBottomsOfOurFeet to Paranormal [link] [comments]
2020.09.14 14:02 Christopher_Maxim If you're ever at the Covenwood Hotel, don't stay in Room 371.
Business trips are dreadfully boring, especially in my line of work. The only good thing about them? Hotels. The tedium of day-to-day dealings bookended with clean towels and a mint on my pillow. If I could live in one, I surely would. There's just something in the ambiance that soothes my soul, for lack of a better phrase. At least, that's how I felt until staying at the Covenwood Inn.
It seemed like any other hotel, at first. Typical floor-plan, decorative arrangements, overly-polite check-in clerk. It wasn't until I received my key card and ventured up to Room 371 that I would notice a dissonance in the layout. Something amiss that broke-up the usual hotel landscape.
In my room, placed deliberately on the bed, was a sheet of paper; restrictions printed on official Covenwood Inn stationery:
Room 371 Guidelines:
1. No television after 9:00pm.
2. Only accept incoming calls on the room phone.
3. Leaving your room between the hours of 10:30pm and 1:30am is strictly forbidden.
4. At least two to an elevator at a time. Never go in alone.
5. No visitors. If there's a knock at the door, ignore it.
6. The mini bar is for emergencies only.
7. The view is a lie. Don't trust it.
Enjoy your stay!
This was odd. I had never seen anything like it- not once, in any of the hotels I'd stayed at in the past. Perplexed, I called the front desk for answers.
"All rules are to be followed during your stay."
The clerk stated this plainly, as if he had uttered it a thousand times before.
"I don't understand. What emergency would warrant use of the mini bar? Why can't I watch TV after 9? What does the view is a lie even mean?"
I was offered the same reply, spoken with the same tone as before, not unlike a recording.
"All rules are to be followed during your stay."
And that was that. No answers. No explanation.
Assuming it was some sort of strange hotel humor I was unfamiliar with, I threw the list on the bedside table and forgot all about it.
Until later that night.
As I laid in bed, watching the 10 o'clock news, something completely out of the ordinary happened. The reporter began scratching at her face. A little at first, but then a lot. Her motions became aggressive and skin began peeling. Blood dripped from the wounds as she continued to relay her report without missing a beat. No one seemed to notice or react to her appearance. Eventually, she froze in place and stared at the camera. Then, a close-up of her face, grotesque and mangled. Her bloodied lips spread apart and offered an ominous sentiment.
"Don't break the rules, Jack."
I jumped out of bed, left my room, and ran downstairs. My voice echoed through the lobby as I barged over to the front desk.
"What the hell is going on here?"
The receptionist didn't so much as blink at my intrusion.
"What can I help you with, Sir?"
"I just watched a news reporter tear apart her own face and tell me- me, personally- to follow your bizarre hotel rules. Is this some kind of sick joke?"
He pointed at the wall clock behind him.
"It's 10:18 sir. In Room 371, there's no television past-"
I grabbed him by the collar.
"I don't appreciate being toyed with. Continue this jest and there will be a call made to the authorities. Mark my words."
I let go of him and stormed off, his monotone voice trailing off in the distance.
"All rules are to be followed during your stay."
I returned to my room, shut the TV off, and laid down to sleep, pissed off, but exhausted. Unfortunately for me, my slumber would be short-lived.
I awoke later that night in a fit of sleep paralysis, pinned in place by my own body. At the foot of the bed was a shadowy figure whose features I couldn't quite make out in the darkness. A warmth overtook the room as it stepped over to my side. My heart began to race.
Closer now, I could see it was a man. Maybe in his 50s. Well dressed, gray mustache. He leaned over me and spoke with a disturbingly unnatural timbre. His voice echoed off the walls and met my ear with an inhuman cadence.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Jack. Are you enjoying your stay so far?"
I tried to break free of my chemical restraints, but it was no use.
"Where are my manners? I'm Garrett Covenwood, the owner of this here hotel. I like to greet my guests whenever I can."
He rested his hand on my arm. There was a stinging sensation where his skin met mine, but I could barely wince in response to the pain.
"Follow the rules, Jack. If you don't, you're in for a bumpy ride."
All at once, the warmth dissipated, and the sound of my cell phone buzzing rendered me fully awake. I jolted to a sitting position, reclaiming my movement. The man was gone and my arm was fine.
Thank God. It was just a nightmare.
I quickly grabbed my phone and answered. It was my boss, Colter.
"Hey Jack, there's been a change of plans. Need you down in the lobby right away."
"What- what for?" I asked, somewhat groggily.
"No time to waste. Hurry up."
I looked at the time. It was 12:36am. I was forbidden to leave my room, according to the damned rules. I called the front desk.
"Listen here. I need to come down to the lobby and meet my boss. I don't care what your rules say. There better be no weirdness. You hear me?"
The sound of tapping away at a keyboard filled my ear.
"Sir, our records show that your boss, Colter Brumlock, is fast asleep in his room."
Confusion washed over me.
"In his room asleep? How would you even know that? Are you telling me there's no one in the lobby waiting for me?"
"No, sir. It's a slow night. Just me and the fern in the corner."
I hung up the phone and dialed Colter's number. After two tones, he picked up.
"This better be good, Jack. I was sleeping."
"Colter, you didn't just call a moment ago and ask me to meet you downstairs, did you?"
He let out a groggy sigh.
"Of course not. What are you talking about? Can I go back to bed now?"
Another wave of confusion struck.
"Sure... It was probably a wrong number or something... Sorry to wake you."
Before hanging up, I asked him one last question.
"Say, you didn't get a weird list of rules from the hotel, did you?"
"No. Now let me sleep!"
He hung up and I sat there, contemplating things. Honestly, it felt as though I was hanging on to my sanity by a single, fragile thread. I had told myself the images on the TV were the hotel's doing, but this... This couldn't be faked. Colter and I had known each other for years. I knew his raspy voice anywhere- better than I knew my own. That was definitely him on the other line, but, at the same time, it couldn't have been.
It was, by all means, a mystery.
The next day of work came and went. Before long, Colter and I met back at the hotel where we dispersed to our separate rooms. What was once the highlight of any given business trip, was now tainted by uncertainty. For a good, long while, I sat there in bed, still in my dress attire, perusing the list of rules on the bedside table. I couldn't make sense of them any more than when I'd arrived, but it had become abundantly apparent that something was going on. Something unexplainable. Part of me hoped it was the product of a tired mind, overworked and succumbing to the side effects of exhaustion.
But lies, even the ones we tell ourselves, only stretch so far.
After undressing and climbing beneath the sheets for some much needed rest, there was a knock at the door. Rule #5 came to mind.
No visitors. If there's a knock at the door, ignore it.
It felt silly, but I did as the rule demanded. Best to act with an air of caution, I thought. Better safe than sorry. The knocking, however, was soon followed by a voice. Colter's voice.
"Jack, are you in there? Your wife called me. Says she couldn't get through on your cell. Something happened to Leslie."
My heart sank. Leslie was our daughter.
I jumped out of bed, ran to the door, and opened it at once. Colter walked in, visibly troubled.
"What's going on, what happened to Leslie?"
Colter bore a look of deep concern.
"Well... it's not good news."
My heart was pounding.
"Out with it, already! What happened? This is my daughter we're talking about!"
He looked at me, almost teary-eyed.
"Leslie's dead, Jack."
All color vanished from the room. What air I had in me left my lungs in a single, labored breath as a steady stream of tears wet my face. Colter put his hand on my shoulder.
"There's more. Please, sit down."
I fell to the bed, broken.
"The truth is, Jack, you broke Rule #5. Now I have to hurt you."
His lips stretched into a wicked grin and his body froze. He was as still as a statue.
"Colter... I don't understand."
In a flash, his hands lunged and connected with my neck. With a viciously tight grip, he began squeezing the air out of my lungs. I tried to fight back, but his strength was overwhelming. I managed to get in a few jabs to his head, but it didn't seem to have any effect whatsoever. He forced me to the floor and continued to clench my throat, until finally, I lost consciousness. In that moment, I truly thought I was a goner.
I awoke in bed the next morning, alive and well. I quickly reached for my phone and noticed a text from Charlotte.
Just put Leslie on the bus. She misses you terribly. So do I. Please be safe. We love you.
I got out of bed and raced to the bathroom mirror. My neck was void of bruising; no signs of strangulation.
I called Charlotte to be doubly certain. To my relief, Leslie was indeed fine. As alive as she was the day I left. It all just felt so real.
Could it really have been a dream?
Frazzled, I met up with Colter and we drove to our next meeting. I could still feel his hands wrapped around my neck. I refused to make eye contact with him the entire day and he noticed. What could I say without sounding certifiable? Hey, the hotel left me this weird list of rules to follow and now I think I'm seeing things. Want to stop for coffee before you drop me off at the nearest hospital? No, that wouldn't bode well. Mild food poisoning from the sushi at the hotel bar was a far better excuse.
Only a few more days of torment, then I could leave. That's what I kept telling myself. Little did I know, my next night there would be the longest one yet.
I awoke at 11:22pm, according to the blinking display of the alarm clock on the desk across the room. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed a faint, orange light dancing on the wall, pouring in through a gap in the curtains. I pulled myself out of bed and walked over to the window to identify the source of the light. What I saw was absolutely horrifying.
The hotel was ablaze, an enormous fire engulfing the ground floor. The flames grew to great heights and touched the glass in front of me before I had the nerve to turn away and make a run for it. In leaving my room, I yelled to warn the other guests.
"Fire! There's a fire! We need to leave at once!"
No one joined me in the hall. There was no sound at all coming from within any of the other rooms on the floor.
Had everyone already evacuated? Was I the only one inside?
I opened the first door in reach. It was unlocked. Inside was the reporter from TV, her face still dripping red; a blood stain on the carpet below.
"You should have followed the rules, Jack."
I slammed the door shut and moved on. In the next room was Colter. I watched him strangling a copy of me before his head turned and we locked eyes. He threw my lifeless body to the floor and started running to my position.
"You can't hide, Jack!"
I closed the door and ran to the next. This room contained yet another impossibility. The worst one yet.
It was my wife and daughter, standing at the door. Their eyes were vacant; drained of all human emotion. I watched, astonished, as their skin burned to a crisp before my eyes. Charlotte spoke first.
"We miss you terribly, Jack."
Leslie chimed in after.
"When will you be home, Daddy?"
I couldn't escape them. These horrors were around every corner. In a last-ditch effort to run away from my troubles, I bolted to the nearby elevator. The button was jammed, but I kept pressing it. I looked down the hall to see the reporter, Colter, my wife, and daughter all walking towards me.
"Come on, come on! Work, you piece of crap! Work!"
Finally, the button gave way and the doors opened. I hopped into the metal box and pushed the button for the first floor. The doors closed just as the rag-tag team of zombies closed the gap between us. I slid to the floor, on the verge of a heart attack.
The ride down offered no solace; no lull in the supernatural calamity I faced.
Without warning, the elevator dropped, plunging to the depths of the hotel, far deeper than I thought possible. I gripped the railing as tight as I could as the light wavered in and out of life. In between flickers, Garrett appeared before me.
"You've broken almost every rule, Jack. This is what happens. You'll destroy us all if you're not careful."
He vanished. The light left with him. Knowing my death was fast-approaching, I closed my eyes and thought of Charlotte and Leslie. I could see them playing outside in the rain on the day I left. It was always heartbreaking to say goodbye, and this would be no different.
I held on to their memory and braced for impact. As the elevator neared the end of its decent, Garrett's booming voice entered my mind and broke the trance.
"WAKE UP, JACK!"
Jarred, my eyes opened and I fell back, landing on the floor. The unique abrasiveness of carpet brushed against my skin. I was no longer in the elevator. Upon taking a deep breath and gathering my wits, the familiar surroundings set in. I had inexplicably been transported back to Room 371. As I looked around in disbelief, happy to be alive, I noticed the list in my hand. Rule #7 was now circled.
The view is a lie. Don't trust it.
It took a minute to register, but I now knew what it meant. The view through the window. There was never any fire. It was just another ploy to get me to leave the room, and I foolishly took the bait.
My eyes darted to the alarm clock on the desk. It was 1:47am, meaning it was now safe to leave. I needed to get the hell out of there, and fast.
I stood up, marched to the door, and grabbed the knob. It was hot to the touch. Burning hot. I pulled my hand back instinctively to avoid the harsh heat. I then noticed the charred wood on the bottom of the door's frame, indicating fire. Real fire. But how? I thought the view had deceived me.
I looked back to the list for answers and noticed a post script, scribbled in pen.
You should have followed the rules, Jack. You did this. Now we all have to suffer.
My eyes scanned the page for more clues, to no avail. They kept landing on Rule #7. In addition to being circled, it was underlined with a striking, red ink. Why did my attention need to be drawn there? Was it just gloating, or something more?
That's when it hit me.
I walked over to the window and peered outside. The fire raged on outside my room, but the world below seemed unaffected. No flames, no firefighters, no one running out of the hotel. Just a plain parking lot, traffic on the main road, and trees in the distance. As normal a view as one could hope to expect from this particular vantage point.
But the view was a lie.
I tried opening the window, but an unseen force closed it shut on my fingers. I screamed and pulled them back. In a great deal of agony, I lifted the chair at the desk and threw it against the glass. It shattered, revealing the world outside for what it really was. I saw the fiery wall below and heard the guests screaming in peril. There was indeed a fire. And I truly was in danger.
Still in pain, I picked up the list and looked at Rule #6.
The mini bar is for emergencies only.
This was certainly an emergency.
Without any time to waste, I opened up the mini bar next to the desk. Inside were no drinks or food, only a small black box with a red button affixed to its surface. I pulled it out and placed it on the bed. There was now smoke seeping into the room through the outline of the doorway.
Looking over the list again, there were no further instructions; nothing at all pertaining to the box. There was only one course of action left to take.
I closed my eyes and pressed the button as hard as I could, putting my life in its hands. Memories played in my mind like a film reel running in reverse. The day's events followed by the previous, and so on. I relived all of the fear and torment in a matter of seconds, until eventually, my eyes opened, and I found myself in line with Colter at the front desk, waiting to check in.
"This place isn't too shabby, Jack. Better than the last one, at least."
I can't explain how, but I was back in the hotel lobby on the first day of the business trip. The day we checked in.
"Say, Jack, what happened to your hands?"
I looked down and saw the bruises left by the window.
"Oh.. It's nothing. Slammed them in the car door. That's all."
"Both of them?"
He was cut off by the check-in clerk, greeting me. I was now at the front of the line.
"Do you have a reservation, Sir?"
I stared at him for a while, remembering everything that had happened. I then backed away from the counter and turned to leave.
"Jack, where are you going?"
"Sorry, Colter. I have to be with my wife and daughter. I've been given a second chance, and I'm not going to let it slip through my fingers."
"Second chance? Jack, what are you talking about?"
I didn't respond. Instead, I ran out of there as fast as I could. Before getting into my car, I looked back at the Inn, one last time. Perhaps I imagined this part, or maybe it was the product of strange lighting, but it's something I've never forgotten.
Looking up at one of the rooms on the top floor, I swear I saw the faint outline of a silhouette, waving goodbye.
submitted by Christopher_Maxim to Wholesomenosleep [link] [comments]
2020.09.13 11:13 MotherhoodEst2017 Small camera for bathroom
So I posted this in entitledparents and more than one person suggested I also post it here for you lovely people. It’s quite long, I do apologize.
So this happened at the last apartment complex I lived in. Sorry it’s so long.
My SO and I were renting a ground floor unit at a really nice apartment complex. I wouldn’t say it was a luxury apartment or anything but our ground floor unit had a little patio off the back that led out into a really nice court yard area with hammocks, a walking path, outdoor fireplace/seating area, etc. A lot of people walk their dogs out there or let their kids play out in the grass, including us.
We have a 1 year old cane corso, we got her when we’d been living in the unit for about 2.5 months and she was only 8 weeks at the time. She’s a really good dog and we trained her well. We could let her out to go potty and she’d come right back even if there were distractions/people/dogs out (we always stood on the patio and watched her anyways because our pet agreement said we couldn’t leave our dog unattended). Then we’d go pick up her poop right away if she pooped (also part of the pet agreement as I’m sure is standard at most apartment complexes). We kept a small step trash can outside specifically for her poop bags because we didn’t want to throw them away inside and the only outside trash cans were on the other side of the building (which i agree is super dumb). It really was a small trash can, like the kind you’d tuck into the bathroom between the toilet and the wall. We also had her poop bags hanging on our patio door handle for easy access so we didn’t have to hunt for them every time we needed them.
This lady and her kid moved in on the ground floor in our building, two units down from us. No biggie. We ran into her one day carrying in groceries and my SO held open the door for her. She seemed kind of Karen-ish but was polite and her kid (probably 10-11 years old) didn’t look up from his phone. Whatever that’s pretty typical of kids these days. They also had a dog, a little black and white fluffy thing super cute but not trained very well. Don’t know what kind of dog but it was much smaller than our already giant puppy.
After about two weeks or so, we realized that there were dog turds in the grass right off our patio. We found out the hard way because my boyfriend stepped in it the first time. Luckily he wasn’t barefoot. They were clearly not our dog’s turds as 1.) we always picked up her poop right after she went and 2.) they were very obviously from a small dog, not our 70 pound puppy. We’d been in the apartment about 7-8 months at that point and had never had an issue with this so we figured it was EM’s little dog. I wrote her a polite note that basically was like “Hey neighbor! We noticed that some of your dog’s poops aren’t being picked up and are right off our patio. Per the pet agreement we all have to sign, we all need to be picking up our own dog’s poop each time they go. I’m sure it was an accident and you just didn’t notice, so if you could make sure to do that going forward we’d appreciate it! -Your neighbors in (unit#)”
She wasn’t home so I slipped it under the door and went back to my apartment. A couple hours later this lady is banging on my door and gets really angry with me, insists that it couldn’t have been her dog and how dare I assume. I felt really bad and I apologized immediately, said I didn’t mean to offend her and it must have been someone else. She told me never to bother her with “crap like this again” and stormed off. I was like okaaaaayyyyy.
Not three days later, I was sitting on my patio with a book enjoying the cool weather when I see their little dog run out of their back door - no one with it - and it comes over to me. I said hello to the pup (bcuz I love pups) and then it took a shit right off patio, ran back home and scratched the door to be let in. I saw her kid slide the door open enough to let the dog in and then closed it again without coming outside to pick up the poop. I was annoyed because here I saw it with my own eyes that it WAS their dog and no one was even watching it when it was outside.
So I grabbed a poop bag, picked up the poop, wrote another less polite note about her kid neglecting to watch the dog or come to check if it had pooped/pick up after it, and dropped the poop bag and the note on their patio right by the door, then went back to my reading. EM was quicker to come by this time and stomped right up to me, waving the note around. Then stated that her kid was just a kid and probably just forgot to check. I said I didn’t care, her kid was old enough to stand outside for 3 minutes and come pick up the dog’s poop. She said well there’s no poop bags/trashcans on this side of the building and she didn’t feel comfortable making her kid walk all the way around the building for that. The next part is my own fault, in hindsight. I suggested she put a trash can like mine on her patio and leave their own poop bags handy like we do for our dog. She eyed our stuff, huffed some more, rolled her eyes, refused to do anything about the poop and walked off. At this point I was super annoyed.
I stalked my patio door for the next couple days as much as I could, just waiting. And sure enough on day 2 in the evening when I was about to give up, I see the puppy run outside towards my patio. I whipped out my phone, took some pictures of the dog outside alone (not allowed) and the dog pooping and then took another phone an hour later of the poop still there and time stamped all of them. Then I sent an email to the apartment office people who were always pretty nice and they responded quickly they would give her a warning about it.
And sure enough this lady comes back AGAIN, to get mad and yell at me about how petty I was to report them to the office and now they had a $150 fine for not picking up their dog poop. (It’s worth noting that these fines were rare. PooPrints were not used at this complex. In order for the office to fine someone for dog poop they had to have proof it was that specific tenants dog’s poop and that it wasn’t picked up. Hence the photos I’d taken and timestamped.) I told her that I had tried to be nice about it with her TWICE before and it was her own fault at that point for not abiding by the terms of the pet agreement we ALL had to sign (everyone who had a dog at least).
She went off about how she’s a single mom and she works during the day and her precious baby can’t be expected to pick up after their dog. I told her that a 10/11 year old was plenty old enough to pick up after a dog and that if they weren’t responsible enough then maybe the kid shouldn’t be letting the dog out at all and she should be the one to do it or maybe whoever is home with him should be looking after it. She got angry, told me I had no idea how to be a single mom, that her mom stays with him during the day and shouldn’t be expected to look after her kid and her dog and she stomped off again. I expected to hear more about it but I didn’t. (The ironic part is I AM a single mom; my kid isn’t my SO’s and I raised him alone for 2.5 years before I met my SO, so yes I do know how hard it is and I live 1000 miles from my closest family so I never even had the luxury of being able to have my mom watch my kid.)
Over the next couple of weeks we didn’t find anymore dog turds off our patio. But we did notice our poop bags were depleting and our trash can filling up way more quickly than usual. I had my suspicions and wanted to test it. We had recently bought some small security cameras for inside of our apartment for different reasons and I had my boyfriend set one up outside on the patio. We faced it where it could see our door and trash can but didn’t point to the rest of the court yard or other people’s units (we respect privacy around here).
Sure enough the same evening my boyfriend set it up, I see the kid walk onto our patio, take a poop bag, walk out of frame, and then come back to throw it in our trash can. Okay. Now I’m PISSED but also not trying to fight this lady or her kid. So I moved the poop bags to the inside door handle. It’s a glass door so you can still see them but we always lock our sliding door.
Next morning, I hear someone knocking on the back patio door and I go to see her kid standing there looking annoyed. I didn’t open the door I just spoke loudly enough to ask what did he need. He demanded a poop bag for his dog’s poop. I said I’m sorry but these are our poop bags for our dog and they weren’t free for anyone else to use. The apartment provides poop bags in a dispenser near the trash can on the other side of the building. Kid started demanding a poop bag, saying his mom told him he could use ours, slapping his hands on the glass a few times (trying to scare me? yes I’m so terrified of a ten year old boy...), and finally screaming at me that he’s telling his mother on me. I said fine go ahead I’ll tell her the same thing. Sure enough, a few minutes later his mom is standing on my patio also demanding a poop bag for her dog’s poop. I denied her a bag and asked her to please step off of my patio as she was making me feel unsafe and uncomfortable (my SO wasn’t home). She told me I was a bratty child (I’m 24...) and she demanded I let her use my poop bags as I had already told her she could before. I said no, I told you to get some yourself and do what I do - keep them close by and put your own trash can on your own patio - not use the bags I buy with my own money for my own dog and then fill up my tiny trash can with your dog’s poop. I pointed out she could use a plastic shopping bag if she didn’t want to buy her own poop bags or she could use the bags the complex provided on the other side of the building. She kept going off on me and I finally told her if she didn’t leave my patio I’d call the police as she was harassing me (the apartment office was closed on Sundays and of course it was Sunday). She acted like she was going to call my bluff but then my boyfriend got home and walked up behind me to ask what was going on and she ended up dragging her kid away - again, leaving the poop in the grass off my patio.
So once she was gone, I took ANOTHER timestamped picture of the dog poop, downloaded the footage from my security camera of her kid stealing my poop bags and throwing them in my trash can and the footage from them that morning yelling at me and demanding my bags and my denying them and emailed all of it to the apartment management. I told them that she made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable in my own home, that she and her child felt entitled to come onto my patio and take my belongings. I also went outside, picked up her dog’s poop, looked in the trash can on my patio and pulled out the bags with her dog’s poop (they were significantly smaller than my dog’s poops as I’m sure any dog owners could tell the difference in poops of a 12lb dog vs a 70lb dog). I went and opened all the bags and dumped the poops straight on her patio right outside the door.
On Monday, I heard back from the office lady who said she would take care of it. By Friday, there was a moving truck and the lady and her kid were moving out. Pretty sure they were evicted or at the very least urged to move before a formal eviction process was initiated. After talking to some of our other, much friendlier neighbors, it turns out we weren’t the only ones who had been complaining about her. They’d only lived in the complex for like 2-3 months before they made so many enemies they were kicked out.
Sometimes I think I should feel bad for playing a part in them getting evicted but honestly I can’t bring myself to feel guilty about it. Not my fault she was a lazy entitled bitch who couldn’t even be assed to get a shopping bag to pick up her dog’s shit. I never heard from her about the turds I dropped on her patio but I like to think she stepped in them without looking and knew better than to come bitch to me about it.
sorrynotsorry (Also, I’m sure they were given more than a week to vacate as those are the tenancy laws here but she packed up and left like a bat out of hell. Guess she didn’t want to stay somewhere she was clearly seen as an enemy... I don’t know for sure that she was evicted or if she was just asked to leave or abide by the lease or what. Office can’t give out that type of info and she and I weren’t exactly on speaking terms for her to give me the scoop about it.)
TLDR; Entitled mom lets her dog shit wherever it wants without cleaning it, I tell her to pick up her dog’s shits or make her kid do it, she refuses, gets a fine from the apartment complex after I send them pics of her dog unattended and the poop not being picked up. She starts letting her kid steal my supplies from my patio, I send video footage and photos to the management and they end up being kicked out of the complex.
(ETA: Here’s the puppy tax! )
submitted by MotherhoodEst2017 to ProRevenge [link] [comments]
2020.09.13 10:17 sj20442 'My job is watching a woman trapped in a room.' Part 4 by u/Verastahl. Gripping and subversive in ways I can't describe without spoiling it.
I had to do something, and I had to do it right now. If Melanie was somehow a fake, that meant they must have sent her. And if they sent her, that meant they knew. They knew about the messages in her painting. They knew about me asking questions. And they knew I didn’t hit a button during any of it.
I felt panic and fear crawling up my chest, making it hard to breathe. Standing up, I started pacing, periodically glancing back at the monitor to see if Rachel could help me, tell me what I needed to do next. But she had laid down on her bed. It was hard to tell for sure with her back to the camera, but I think she was crying.
No, I needed to fix this. Get her out of there. And if I didn’t have a better plan, I’d just have to go with the one I already had.
Feeling the hard eye of the ceiling camera on me, I went to the door and stepped back into the locker room. My phone was in my locker, and after messing up the combination the first time, I got the door open and got it out. Gripping it tightly, I tried to hold it by my side casually, but I knew there was little point. If they knew everything, I wasn’t going to be able to hide anything. I just had to try and be fast, get some kind of message out to people that could help Rachel before they got to me.
I opened the camera on the phone as I re-entered the surveillance room and hit record. It made a small beeping noise and once I was sure it was recording, I turned the camera on myself.
“My name…my name is Tommy. Thomas Calhoun. And my job is watching a woman trapped in a room. This is not a joke or a movie or…whatever. This is real. For three years my job is to sit in this room…” I moved the camera slowly around the room, taking in the door to the bathroom, the water cooler, the desk with the monitors, keyboard, and button box, “…and watch a video feed of a woman locked up in a bedroom somewhere.” I stepped closer to the desk and made sure the monitor showing Rachel was clear and in focus. “I didn’t know this woman was a prisoner at first…or I tricked myself into thinking she wasn’t because the money was good. Either way, I know she is now. She is in danger and so am I.”
After lingering on video of her for a few more seconds to make sure every detail could be seen, I turned the camera back on myself. I had to hurry, or the video might be too big to send quickly. I was trying to stay calm, but I felt myself tearing up as I went on, and I did my best to keep my words clear. “Please help her. I don’t know where she is. I don’t know who has her, because I don’t know who I really work for. But they are bad people and she is not safe.”
“All I know is that I work at a building at [redacted] right outside of San Antonio. (Per Nosleep rules, to be clear this address is not real.) I only know the names of two other people connected to this place. The man who hired me, Mr. Solomon. And a man who might have a job like mine…Charlie Jeffers…no, Jefferies I think. I don’t know if they are real people…I mean, I don’t know if that is their real names. Please. I’m not crazy. I know how this sounds. Just come here, see the room. Figure out where she is and help her. And…”
I heard the muffled sound of the outer door opening into the locker room and I frantically fumbled with the phone to stop the recording. How do I send? Oh no, how do I…there it is. I hit the button to share, and felt a new panic rising. Who should I send it to? I had only a handful of contacts, and I just selected them all. Maybe at least one of them would take it seriously and get help. As I heard the door to the surveillance room opening behind me, I hit send.
Not connected to data service or WiFi. Please send again when connected.
What? No no no no…
I turned to see Mr. Solomon entering the room. He was flanked by two large men in dark suits that looked like bodyguards or something. Raising a finger, he wagged it at me.
“No service in here, Thomas. But then you should never need service in here, so long as you followed the rules.”
They took me easily. I tried to make it to the bathroom and close the door, but the two guards stopped me and pulled me down. They put the…what do you call them? Zipties on my hands and feet and pulled a black bag over my head. Then I was being carried out of the room and it felt like they must have put me in the back of a van that was pulled right up to the building. I was laying on what felt like thin, weird smelling carpet that covered a hard metal layer underneath.
I heard someone get into the van with me, and I asked where we were going. If they would just take me and let Rachel go. There was a short laugh overhead and then Mr. Solomon’s voice as he told me that he would explain everything when we got where we were going. For now, he said, I needed to relax. It was a long drive and I would need the rest.
I went to say more, but then I felt a sharp pain in my neck. They had stabbed me, or…no, they injected me with something. I was feeling so strange now, but I had to stay awake. I had to try and get away, I had to…
“Hello again, Thomas.”
I blinked as I began looking around. My mouth was dry and my head hurt, but otherwise I felt okay. I wasn’t tied up any more--Instead I was laying back on a padded table like I’d seen when I went to the doctor.
But this wasn’t a doctor’s office. The room was large, and aside from the padded table, it held a small bed, a desk with a computer monitor on it, and a couple of chairs. Sitting in one of those chairs was Mr. Solomon.
I raised up slowly, blinking at him. “Where is she? Is Rachel okay?”
The man smiled. “You really are something, Thomas. Trying to be the hero, even if you don’t quite know how. I respect that.” Licking his lips, he leaned forward slightly. “In fact, I respect that so much that I’ve decided to start our new relationship with as much honesty as I’m allowed. Some of my colleagues disagree with this approach, but you know what? Fuck them. This is my project, and I think you deserve to know what’s going on.” Looking more serious, he stood up, lifting the gun he had been holding casually in his lap. “But before we get into the details, would you like to see Rachel?”
I slid off the table and nodded as I caught myself from falling. My legs were still wobbly from whatever they had given me, but I barely noticed. “Yes, please. Let me see her. The real her.”
Mr. Solomon gave a small laugh and gestured toward a nearby door. “Yes, reality is always best. She’s just there in the next room.”
I stumbled my way forward, my legs getting better as I walked, and when I grabbed the doorknob, it turned easily. I expected the door to lead to her bedroom, but instead it opened into another room a lot like the one I had been in, though the stuff in it was different. Strange machines filled the walls, and in the back of the room was a large…aquarium? I didn’t know. It was a big cylinder taller than I was, and it was filled with some kind of gray liquid. There was a shape in that liquid,
“Go ahead, Thomas. Feel free to go have a good look. You’ve earned it.” I felt my stomach clenching tighter at Mr. Solomon’s words and the meanness in them. My legs felt heavy again now, but it wasn’t from the drugs this time.
Shuffling forward, I could see the shape was a person. Oh no Or at least a body, because it was clear from just looking at it that the person was dead. It was very well-preserved, but I could see how the skin hung wrong and looked bloated in spots. Oh God, no no no Its hair, which had been floating like seaweed in front of its face, drifted away as I reached the glass, and I could see Rachel staring out at me.
“Murderer!” I turned on Solomon and started to run toward him when he shot me. Suddenly I was on the ground convulsing as he stepped closer.
“Don’t worry, Thomas. It won’t kill you. Just make you unable to move much for a bit.” I heard more footfalls as my body began to still. “Get him up, take him back to the other room.”
I could barely feel anything as I was carried back to the padded table and propped up into a sitting position. This time I was strapped down, but I guessed it was more so I didn’t fall off, because I couldn’t move anything other than my head, and even that just a little. I could hardly see at all for crying, but I recognized the blurry shape of Solomon sitting back down in front of me.
“Before you ask…well, when you are able to ask anything again, yes, that is Rachel. Not a fake Rachel, not a dummy, and not some kind of trick. As I said, the time for tricks is past. Now is the time for truth.”
Frowning slightly, he went on. “Thomas, I understand that showing you that, showing you her body that way, might seem very cruel. You may hate me for it right now. I would understand it if you did. But you called me a murderer, and at least in this specific context, I think that is unfair, because I didn’t kill Rachel. In truth, I’ve been with this aspect of the project for only seven years.”
He gestured back to the door behind him. “And Rachel has been dead for over eight.”
I felt my eyes widen as though they belonged to someone else’s body. It was more lies. More tricks. All of it. Oh God, it had to be.
“Do you know what remote viewing is?” He rolled his eyes. “Sorry, right, you can’t talk right now. I’ll just assume you don’t. Remote viewing is a broad term for the ability to see things that are far away from you physically, to know things you shouldn’t be able to know through your normal five senses. Some describe it as a psychic ability, though there are several schools of thought as to how and why it works.”
His eyes fixed on mine intently. “Because it does work, Thomas. Various governments and private organizations have studied it for a very long time, and while publicly it is always ridiculed as pseudoscience and foolish superstition, the reality is that some people have the innate ability…that means it comes naturally…to somehow see other places.”
“Rachel was one of those people. She came into the program when she was seventeen, having been identified via a front-facing screening process that was ran as a psychological test that paid subjects well at a time when Rachel was looking to make some money. Three months after being identified as a good candidate, she was taken, and after the initial adjustment period, she became a largely compliant asset that quickly rose to the top of our talent pool.”
Solomon folded his hands on his knee. “I know you cared for her, Thomas, so I think this is worth sharing. Rachel was never treated badly, other than her confinement and the occasional test that was mildly unpleasant. No, we all treasured her. She was enormously talented, not just as a remote viewer, but as an artist. That’s how she would convey what she saw, you understand. She would enter into an almost trancelike state when she painted, and when she was done, she would have given us a painting of images and words that provided…well, it was very valuable information.” He chuckled. “If you ever wondered, that’s why there was always such care that the paintings were never shown to the camera.”
Picking at his pants, he went on. “Rachel was so talented, that she was selected for a new program that we thought might greatly enhance or alter her ability. We introduced something…foreign…into her body. At first, nothing seemed to change. If anything, the accuracy of her remote viewing was declining, which was a problem for us and for her.”
“But then we realized that we were reading the new paintings wrong. She was able to see more clearly than ever--she just was no longer bound to only current events. Now her sight transcended time.” He paused, and I realized he was enjoying telling the story. The bastard was having a good time, pausing to make it more dramatic. I would fucking kill him. “While this made some of her paintings less immediately useful, they became much more valuable as we were able to decipher them. For a time, it looked as though everything was working better than we had ever hoped.”
His lips thinned. “And then, one day, she showed a painting to the camera.”
“It said, ‘Please help me Thomas’. This immediately sent up all kinds of red flags. She knew not to show paintings to the camera, and now she was trying to communicate with someone? We didn’t disrupt her routine, but an intensive investigation began into who she was talking to. Was it one of her handlers? One of the technicians? Someone from her past life? But nothing checked out.”
Leaning back in his chair, a look of pride grew on Solomon’s face as he continued. “I was the one that first suggested the idea that she was, intentionally or not, knowingly or not, seeing and talking to someone in the future. I was still an outside consultant at the time, but by that point we had more strange behaviors from her, including the second message painting, ‘That girl isn’t me’. My theory made some sense, but it very quickly ran into a greater obstacle.”
“The introduction of the foreign material had not been as seamless as we had hoped, despite her having been stable for almost three years since it was implanted. Whether it was due to her increasing emotional upset and stress, or simply the passage of time, she suddenly began to deteriorate. Her work became more erratic and hard to understand as her body began to decline. We were monitoring her health closely, but it didn’t matter. Five days after she painted ‘That girl isn’t me’, she suddenly went into cardiac arrest and died. Somewhat inexplicably, we were unable to resuscitate her.”
The man sighed. “This was a great loss. And it required adjustments of my theory. Based on everything we knew, it still made sense that she was talking to someone. Someone with access to the camera feed, and very likely someone named Thomas. If Thomas was viewing that camera footage in the future, as I believed, then he must be working for us in the future.” He gave me a thin smile. “And whether you believe that the future is set in stone or not, I’m all for giving it a helping hand.”
“Seven years ago I began the Thomas Project. Over the course of that time I have overseen the screening and hiring of forty-three men named Thomas at several different sites, all with one very specific job. To watch the videos of Rachel from just before her implant to the time of her death.”
I tried to speak, but my mouth still wouldn’t work. I wanted to say he was lying, that it didn’t make sense, that it was another trick…but I think I wanted to hear it more for myself. Because I didn’t think he was lying. I didn’t think it was a trick. And I thought I was starting to understand.
“The point wasn’t really them watching the videos, of course. It was how they reacted to watching the videos. What they did, and how that matched up with what Rachel had done in response in the past.”
“Thirteen percent quit after the first day. Thirty-eight percent hit either the red or the green button after the first message asking for help and saying their name. Twenty-two percent attempted to contact the authorities before reaching the stage where ‘Melanie’ was introduced.” He shook his head slightly. “I wish I could take credit for her introduction, but it wasn’t my suggestion. We assumed from the ‘that girl isn’t me’ message that there was a double of Rachel introduced to you at some point, perhaps to kill you or dissuade you or find out what you knew. But it took a few tries until we felt it was well-refined, and as I’ve pointed out, only twenty-seven percent made it that far. And all of them failed the next test.” He pointed at me.
“You see, the girl you’ve been watching, that talented, wonderful girl whose body is preserved in the next room? Her name was Rachel Donovan. I had always wondered if Rachel was merely seeing you, or if there was some kind of connection between the two of you. When you called ‘Melanie’ Rachel, I knew that we had finally found the right Thomas--the distant point of light that our Rachel was looking at across space and time.”
I swallowed thickly and found I could feel my tongue, if only a little. Slurring badly, I pushed out a single word.
Solomon looked surprised. “I’d have thought that’d be clear by now. You’re our only remaining link to one of our greatest treasures. Perhaps you have a similar ability, or it may be that she forged the link purely though her own talent and will. But either way, you are important and you have more work to do.” He stood up and moved over to the table where he turned on the monitor. As it came to life, I saw it was a frozen image of Rachel’s room--a tape paused where I had left off watching. Turning back to me, the man looked solemn.
“You have to watch the rest of it. Because Rachel painted you more pictures before she died, and we have to know what they mean.”
submitted by sj20442 to TheDarkGathering [link] [comments]